Pain after Appendectomy
How to Recover from Your Appendix Surgery

This is the follow up article on my appendicitis story. I’m just going to be sharing some tips and information on dealing with abdominal pain after appendectomy and tips you can use if you’re struggling to get back to your normal routine.

Pain After Appendectomy - How to Recover From Surgery

Having appendicitis itself can be extremely painful, but then even after you have an appendectomy you may still not feel yourself. I didn’t feel 100% comfortable after my appendectomy but with time I was able to do more things and feel better. Here are some things you may like to know about your appendectomy and recovering.

What is an Appendectomy?

An Appendectomy is a surgery to take out the appendix. The appendix is a small, finger like pouch that extends from the large intestine. Scientists are not completely sure of the function of the appendix since it is not a vital organ. However they suspect that the appendix may have a role in the immune system in addition to the digestive system.

So why would you need to get your appendix removed?

If your appendix gets inflamed, this is known as appendicitis and it dangerous. This is because sometimes an inflamed appendix can burst or rupture. If the appendix bursts it can cause the whole of the abdominal cavity to become infected. That’s why it has to be treated quickly and the appendix may need to be taken out.

Ways the appendix is removed:

There are two ways to remove the appendix.

By a 2-3 inch incision in the lower right side of the appendix

Or Larascopic surgery, with an  instrument (which is the larascope), through small incisions on the abdomen.

  • A small incision is made at the bellybutton and the larascope is put through this opening.  Next, the abdomen is filled with gas to lift up the abdominal wall. Other small incisions are made lower on the abdomen. When the procedure is complete, most of the gas is taken out.
  • The incisions are closed with stitches or paper tapes. The stitches are then covered with clear dressings and small pieces of gauze.
  • With larascopic surgery sometimes you will only need to stay in the hospital overnight after your surgery. But if your appendix ruptures or you have it removed by the first type of incision – you will likely stay in the hospital for 2-5 days. You may also require antibiotics, which will be given though an IV to help treat or prevent infections.

When you leave the hospital, you should have someone drive you home and stay with you for at least 24 hours.

How to Deal with Pain after Appendectomy

You will likely have pain in the lower right side of your abdomen for a few days after the surgery. It is important to treat your pain as soon as it starts. Managing your pain will help you rest and be able to move around.

It is also vital to tell your healthcare provider if your pain medicine doesn’t keep you comfortable.

You will receive a prescription for pain medicine from your doctor when you go home. If not you can taken Acetaminophen (eg. Tylenol, paracetamol) or Ibruprofen (eg. Advil, Motrin).  Follow the directions on the package or ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Pain with gas from Larascopy

If your appendix was taken out by Larascopy, you may feel pain or stiffness in your shoulders and neck. You may also get a headache.

  • This is caused by the gas put in the abdomen during surgery. The pain can last for a few hours or 1-2 days.
  • Don’t worry though! Your body will naturally absorb the gas and the pain will go away.
  • To help the pain, try lying flat and putting mild heat on the shoulders and neck. Heat is your friend, and it will help to soothe your pain.
  • Also, try and get moving slowly. Take lots of short walks and have warm showers. This pain in your shoulders and neck is normal after larascopic surgery.

Your Diet After Appendectomy

When you can drink, start with small amounts of clear fluid (like water, ginger ale, apple juice). You can go back into your normal diet when you feel comfortable.

Eat extra fibre. This will also help prevent constipation. (You can get constipated after surgery if you are taking medicine with codeine (like Tylenol #3). A stool softener like Coolace will also help with constipation.

Drink 6 -8 glasses of water each day.

How to take care of your wounds, Can I shower with the dressing?

After surgery you may have paper tapes and a clear dressing on your incision. This should stay on for 7-10 days. Your doctor will tell you when to remove the dressing. You can shower with the paper tapes and clear dressing on.

Gauze dressings will be removed 24-48 hours after surgery- make sure to take this off before you shower. If there has been drainage from the wound, put on a new gauze dressing. If there hasn’t been any drainage – just leave the incision open to the air. This is best.

Dissolvable stitches will absorb in 1-2 weeks as your body heals.

Don’t take a bath, go in a hot tub, or go swimming until the stitches/paper tapes are removed and the incision is healed. This will take about 7-10 days.


  • Be sure to take deep breaths after your surgery so your body gets enough oxygen and your lungs stay clear.
  • Do deep breathing exercises and coughing every hour while you are awake – in the hopstial and at home till you are active again.
  • Moving around is good for you and it will help you get your strength back, pass gas, and get your blood flowing properly.
  • Even when you are resting in bed, change positions and move your legs often. You don’t want to get stiff, and this will help prevent blood clots too.

Final tips to deal with pains after an Appendectomy

  • Slowly return to your normal activities when you feel you can. Ask your doctor when you can go back to work and drive.
  • You will generally have to wait a few weeks before you can do vigorous exercise.
  • For strenuous activities (eg. Vacuuming) you may have to wait about 2-3 weeks.

Rest up well and talk to your doctor if you have nausea, vomiting, fever, a bloated painful abdomen etc. 

After my appendectomy, I got some cozy new bedding which helped me feel more comfortable during my recovery.

Thanks for reading this information about having an appendectomy and dealing with pain after surgery.

Check out my appendicitis story to learn about when I had to have an appendectomy.

Disclaimer: I'm not a health care professional, just someone sharing some useful advice that I received during my appendicitis experience!

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